Jennifer. Gwyneffar. She prefers Fer. Walking in the woods one night, Fer saves a boy from wolves. Thinking Grand-Jane would help with her herbs, Fer takes him home. Reluctantly, Grand-Jane helped, and Fer re-opened old wounds: the death of her father (Grand-Jane's son). She also, unknowingly, opened the Way, the portal between the human and fairy worlds. Both worlds are mired in winter, Fer can feel it. But can she do something about it?
Engaging characters - human and animal - and a tightly woven story make this a fairy tale that will appeal to all audiences.
The Mor is a character similar to the evil stepmother in many fairy tales. She gained her power by killing Fer's parents, and retains it by going on hunts that kill other animals. Although not graphically detailed, some readers may be uncomfortable.
Winterling is an enjoyable read. The story moves along well (but not too fast) and is engaging. Fer is a strong, positive character and her voice comes through well. Overall, the book has the feel of a Disney movie and the "new" princesses that it is embracing.
This is a fantasy adventure for middle grade and young adult readers.
Winterling is a fairy tale meant to be enjoyed as a story. That said, there are elements that can be drawn out for discussion: Grand-Jane and Fer's relationship and seeing people for who they really are. The story could easily be a launchpad for kids interest in herbs and their healing powers, too.
10 and Up
9 to 12
Borrow. This is a book readers of all ages can enjoy. It just isn't one you'll save on the shelf for your grandchildren.